ZULFIQAR ALI ZULFI’S HUES OF DUSK
- 29 Oct - 04 Nov, 2022
Walking into ArtOne62 gallery for an exhibition and at a glance I immediately felt a refreshing burst of colours peeping through the canvases. The portrayal named Saroor O Fanaa by Lubna Jehangir, a prolific artist who’s associated with this form of art since her childhood and has been painting in various mediums for over 30 years now, however, took it as a full time profession about seven years ago. She’s a trained artist and has a Masters of Fines Arts degree in Graphic Design. She started her career in Marketing Communications and has worked with top multinational and national brands, honing her natural talent of visualisation, developing the skills to think differently and to strategically communicate abstract ideas in a better way.
I got in touch with her to get insight on the latest exhibited work. On what exactly is her working pattern to create incredible compositions, she said, “I have been working with this technique of ‘Miniaturist Pointillism’ in gouache for almost 20 years. My style is an amalgamation of the western technique of pointillism, employed by artists in late eighteenth century in oil painting and eastern technique of miniature painting steeped in old tradition. I work with very fine brushes to create minuscule dots in gouache on luminescent colour washed surfaces, bringing out the delicate details.” One simply cannot go without acknowledging her illustrations which were not only visually attractive but also draw attention to prime issues of our society with her engaging themes. I’ve heard that artists are extremely sensitive beings who are highly reactive to situations in a relatively compassionate manner. With this thought arousing in my mind I asked her to explain what connects her to her art and how can she relate to it in her life, to which she responded, “My work is highly personal and expressive, the images I create are steeped in Sufi tradition. Primary inspirations are drawn from Sufi thought, Folklore and mythology. My work has a dream like quality depicting subjective emotions. I often quote Rumi to describe my work philosophy which is, ‘You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop”. After a mental glimpse of her ideology, I articulated that it can make a person think from divergent point of views on what life holds.
Revealing her inspiration, she said, “The inspiration for my recent collection was derived from Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai's poetic compendium Shah Jo Risalo. The theme emerged during a discussion with friends about ancient tales of Sindh. The tale of Mokhi was fascinating as it clearly depicted independent women and it pushed me to explore it as a subject matter for my work.” She used gouache/watercolours on acid free archival paper. Washes of colours are applied on the paper forming a base to work on and bring the details out employing the technique of minuscule dots.
The artist defines that every piece of her is a labour of love with fine details. She rigorously works for four to five hours daily and the most she has achieved is three to four medium sized paintings in a month. Upon asking that is it difficult to convert her thoughts on canvas, she said, “What may seem difficult at a point can become very simple and easy to execute all of a sudden. At times, the whole painting exists in my imagination even before I start to draw. Yet at times, I have to grapple with an idea for months before I can start translating it into lines and the urge to start a new work has been so strong sometimes that I have left a work half way to start the new piece!”
I asked how the response to the exhibition was; “People who visit art galleries are art lovers. They come to seek creative work to quench their thirst. I have always found the audience highly appreciative, engaging and full of encouragement.” Her collection was filled with restrained vibrancy and strong painterly expressions with complex concepts. Some of the themes for her collection were:
The beautiful lush Eden like background represents this woman’s successful and flourishing business. The female figure is dominant and central in these paintings depicting her confidence. Birds in the paintings represent the traders who stopped at her tavern during their travels.
The series of paintings called ‘Guilt’ depict Mokhi's guilt for what she had committed towards her loyal customers. The colourful birds in flight represent the eight traders going about their business without any concern whereas a small female figure in sepia, almost hidden in the background depicts her guilt.
It is the series about human greed and temptation. While Mokhi is tempted to serve poisoned drink to her customers as she does not want to lose lucrative business, the traders end up intoxicated as they loved the taste of it and couldn’t stop till they had it all, not knowing that it was poisonous.